A lot of people read the blog yesterday and I got quite a few positive comments. That’s not why I write my blogs, I write them to express how I feel about things, sometimes good, sometimes bad, but almost never indifferent. I sometimes wonder if folks think I just make a lot of this up. I wrote the other day about my spending two years traveling around Arkansas as an unpaid evangelist on a motorcycle. Well, the picture at the right appeared in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette in February of 2003 about a week before we made our first trip to Tanzania. It was written by the religion writer, Christie Storm, who has written several articles about me over the years. You can see in the picture, the Bible on the gas tank which is also the logo for the One Book Foundation which is a tax-deductible foundation for those wanting to support our work. My individuality was perhaps well expressed by Ms. Storm when she wrote the following:
“Decked out in jeans and a leather biker vest, his hair corralled in a ponytail, Charles Wiggins doesn’t look like a minister. Add the low-slung silver motorcycle to the mix, and preacher isn’t the first word that comes to mind, either. Only the cleric’s collar on his shirt and the ornate silver cross dangling on a long chain around his neck give a hint to his true vocation. "Have motorcycle and Bible, will travel," is his motto.”
Sadly, the motorcycle had to stay in the U.S., but the Bible and the support of the One Book Foundation came with me. Karen and I are officially part of the United Methodist Church serving as Individual Volunteer Missionaries, part of the General Board of Global Ministries. As volunteers, we are unpaid, uninsured, and can go do mission work where we choose and not where some board sends us. We chose to come to Tanzania as we have chosen to live and serve here until God calls us home. While we have always gone our own way, we have also always had the support of wonderful and faithful Christians and friends who have supported us from the very first day we got here. Karen was able to meet with Bob and Patricia Harlan, Jerry and Amy Buckingham, David and Ginny Poulter, and Gordon Allison who are all on the board of the One Book Foundation which receives all its mail and contributions through Sequoyah United Methodist Church, 1910 Old Wire Road, Fayetteville, AR 72703. We are sincerely grateful to Sequoyah and to the members of the board who keep us going with financial and prayerful support as they have for years. We do the best of what we can, where we are, with what we have. We have been blessed by the support of so many in Arkansas, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Massachusetts, as well as members of our family and friends we have made around the world. I miss my motorcycle, but I couldn’t ride it on these roads and at my age now couldn’t ride it anywhere. Still, it is a part of who I am as are all my mission experiences in Brazil, Peru, and Kenya. As much as I like to think of myself who has done it “My Way” to quote Frank Sinatra, in fact it was Christian friends and supporters who shaped and guided my steps all the way across the ocean. To them, I offer my most grateful thanks and ask humbly that they continue to keep us in their thoughts and prayers as we work here to expand the Kingdom of God and to bring others into the light and out of their darkness. There is another picture on Facebook. Didn’t look too bad as a motorcycle evangelist, you think?